“Mechanics” is not often a word associated with flowers and the floral industry but it is at the core of every fancy arrangement you ever go gah gah over. I remember the first time someone in the floral industry asked me what mechanics I used in an arrangement I created and to which I responded with the look of a stunned mullet.
Being fairly new to the floral industry I was amazed to learn about mechanics. What do you mean there is tape, and foam and chicken wire in there? I just thought it was the magic touch of a true artist!
Sorry if I just blew up the illusion but underneath all those leaves and pretty petals are some interesting building blocks that florists use to create their amazing flower-filled masterpieces! Want to see beneath the leaves? Just keep reading!
1.Chicken Wire -
Yup, you read that right. It’s not just for keeping chickens safe from foxes! Chicken wire is a moldable, foldable, shapable key mechanic element. We often use this in arches for your wedding ceremony or when building a free-standing structure during an install. It can also be used to add structure to a vase. Simply squish it into your desired shape and tape or wire it into place.
2. Floral Foam -
Floral foam comes in 2 varieties, wet or dry. The wet foam is designed to absorb water and thus provide water to your blooms so they stay fresh for their big day. The foam comes in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors. It can come in a cage - a framed plastic structure that holds the foam in place when securing the foam to a structure like a ceremony arch. Foam is a great mechanic to use in designing as the foam provides water for your blooms and holds them nicely in place. Foam is a one time use mechanic and is not the most environmentally friendly option though they are creating newer varieties that are more compostable. Dry foam is more like styrofoam and is used for silk or dried floral arrangements. You often see it at your local craft store.
3. Water Picks -
These magic little canisters of water can be hidden into a chicken wireframe, a table garland or about anywhere else you can think of. You can find them in a variety of sizes and colors and the gist is, you fill them with water, pop on the rubber cap, and wiggle a stem into the water. These are wonderful for water-hungry flowers like roses, ranunculus and hydrangeas.
4. Floral Tape -
Growing up only mum knew where the scotch tape was and it was the fix all and best ingredient in any home crafting project I tried. Now that I’m all grown up I have a tape collection of my own. This one definitely has more than just the basic scotch tape. Tape comes in every width you can imagine for taping up the tiniest of flowers to basically giant duct tape. Most of the tape is green or clear and the most commonly used tape in our studio is a green waterproof tape. This is used on all our bouquets that ship from the studio and most of our bridal bouquets too. We also use a waxy floral tape that is slightly stretching and this is handy for use in wiring flowers and boutonnieres. Tape is also very useful in adding structure to a vase to help keep blooms in place. By making a criss-cross pattern across the top of your vessel you can prevent flowers from all falling to one side. It’s amazing what you can do with a little bit of tape.
5. Wire -
Wire is another magical element in the floral world. Wire holds flowers in just the right spot or bends them into fun unique shapes. It also holds any manner of things together. If tape doesn’t do the trick, try some wire! Used in garlands, wreaths, boutonnieres, and flower crowns, Wire is an integral mechanic in the florist apron.
6. Floral Tack -
if you can’t use tape or wire, try floral tack which is sometimes referred to as floral adhesive or museum glue. This sticky putty is definitely magic. Useful in adhering greenery to almost any wall and securing vases and taper candles to the exact spot you need them. While it doesn’t look very impressive it indeed is!
Well, now you know our secret! Every florist is not only an artist, using color and lines and design to bring you beautiful arrangements, they are also engineers, often creating something from nothing and hypnotizing you with our magic skills. See if you can spot mechanics in your next floral order!